Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Closer “Good Faith” Just OK

Image from TNT

”The Closer” (TNT) returned on January 26 with a new episode titled “Good Faith.” Some time has passed since we last left Major Crimes, as Detective Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) is already back to work after being nearly fatally shot in the episode “Time Bomb” from last September 2008. It appears that Sanchez has had multiple surgeries, and is awaiting approval to return to full duty. But, as we find out toward the end of the show, it’s his mind, not his body, keeping him from being cleared.

Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) is preparing for her wedding to FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney), her mother and father helping her with the plans. In the midst of her trying on wedding dresses, she gets called in to a case that first looks like a suicide, but the coroner Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco) believes it to be a murder. He makes a strong case to get the Major Crimes Division involved.

The same cast has returned to serve in Major Crimes, and that’s a good thing. They work very well together and create a very believable working environment. In this particular episode, however, the case seems to take a back seat to Brenda’s wedding plans, with her parents helping. She actually brings her parents Willie Ray (Frances Sternhagen) and Clay Johnson (Barry Corbin) along to question one of the possible suspects, a church minister, under the guise of checking out his “church” for her wedding. She also brings samples of her potential wedding cake into the squad for them to help tell her which one to pick.

The suicide/murder case is mediocre at best. It felt more like an episode trying to tie up a loose end with Sanchez’s shooting, and an attempt to move along on Brenda’s and Fritz’s wedding plans. To add to Brenda’s problems, her father has a heart attack, which makes him unable to go on the Hawaiian vacation he and Willie Ray had planned. This helps Brenda’s parents to suggest a small wedding for Brenda, which is what she really wanted anyway.

But, back to the case. There was a case in there somewhere. I found it somewhat predictable that the girlfriend/phony cancer patient had done it. It was a little too easy to figure out, especially once they brought forward the invoice for a cancer treatment that wasn’t itemized. I also thought that some of the forensics work was a little cheesy. It seemed cumbersome to me to have them use a montage of printed photos in order to recreate a full image of the body lying on the floor, with a similar image of the blood splatter on the doorway. The way these things were pieced together, I wouldn’t think that they would have been allowable to use as evidence in a trial. Again, we have another case where a suspect confesses a little to quickly. You would think with all the crime shows these days, that the first words out of a suspect’s mouth would be “I want a lawyer” rather than an admission of guilt.

Personally, I can’t wait until Brenda and Fritz get married because I think the storyline is becoming a little too consuming. The crimes seem to be taking more of a back seat, and I think this is a detriment to the show. The premise of the show originally was Brenda’s ability to solve crime in creative ways, and now it’s become more about Brenda’s personal life. I am fine with her personal life coming in to the show; I just would like to see it in smaller doses. Hopefully the wedding will take place and we can "close" that matter and get back to Brenda solving crimes, which is where she, and the show, excels.

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